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Children are trans, parents are struggling with a wave of legislation in the red states Health

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Kim CHANDLER – Associated Press

Montgomery, Alabama (AP) – Ninth-grader Harley Walker, 15, spends time after school, like many girls her age: doing homework, listening to Taylor Swift, collecting recordings and hanging out with friends.

But this year her spring break also included an attempt to persuade members of the House of Representatives and the State Senate to reject legislation banning gender-claiming drugs for transgender people like her under 19. She was unsuccessful. On Thursday, Alabama lawmakers took the measure. If Gov. Kay Ivey signs the law, Harley will no longer be able to take testosterone-blocking drugs.

“Honestly, I’m a little scared now,” she said Thursday, learning the bill was passed. “But we will still fight no matter what.”

Harley said she hopes the governor will veto the bill or it will be blocked by a court. Ivy has not indicated whether she plans to sign it.

Alabama is one of many states with Republican-controlled legislatures that pass advanced bills not only to block treatment but also to ban transgender children from using school restrooms or playing sports teams that do not match their gender at birth. The Alabama drug bill is one of the largest: it will put doctors in jail for up to 10 years for prescribing puberty blockers or hormonal treatments to trans children under 19.

Conservative lawmakers say measures are needed to protect children and parental rights.

“We regulate all kinds of things that harm minors – alcohol, cigarette smoke, vaping, tattoos – because their minds are not ready to make those decisions about things that can affect them in the long run,” said spokesman Wes Allen, a sponsor of the version. Alabama House of Representatives. Allen cited testimony at a public hearing of a woman who said she regretted taking hormone therapy to try to switch to male form.

“With these powerful drugs that have a detrimental effect on their bodies in the long run, we just want to pause … give them the opportunity to develop and grow out of it,” Allen said.

But opponents say the health of transgender people is being used as a deliberate political issue to motivate the electorate – in the same way they say bills on critical race theory were busy. Critical theory of race is a way of thinking about American history through the prism of racism. Many Republican-controlled legislatures have proposed bills that would block his teaching in public schools.

Measures involving trans-youth have provoked a quick reaction from medical experts, Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration, U.S. Department of Justice and Trans-Youth Families. Last month, the Department of Justice sent a letter to all 50 state attorneys general, warning them that blocking transgender and non-binary youth from providing gender-sensitive assistance could be a violation of federal constitutional protection.

“My child is not a political tool. It’s an unfair fight against vulnerable children, ”said Vanessa Feeney Tate, mother of a 13-year-old trans boy in Birmingham, Alabama, after testifying at a public legislative hearing on a bill banning students from using bathrooms. corresponding to their gender.

Harley’s father, Jeff Walker, notes that many of the same Alabama lawmakers who backed a ban on sex-confirming treatment recently argued, “It’s your body and your choice” regarding coronavirus vaccination. He said the family is now trying to find another state where it can continue to care for Harley.

“We just don’t want people to interfere with our health care,” he said.

Medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have publicly opposed efforts outside the law that affirm gender.

“Gender support benefits the health and psychological functioning of transgender people and young people of different genders,” the Endocrine Society said in a statement. “If a person’s gender identity is not respected and they cannot get medical care, it can lead to increased psychologically problematic scores and can increase the risk of suicide or other acts of self-harm.”

The organization notes that younger adolescents are only recommended reversible blockers of puberty, while older adolescents may be eligible for hormone therapy.

Harley received medication – which prevents her from going through male puberty – only after consulting with a team of doctors for years. She said it was “strange” to see lawmakers without medical experience call her drugs “child abuse” when six doctors agreed she should take them.

Angus, a 16-year-old trans teen who asked not to use his last name because of the bullying he received in his city in northern Alabama, said that during puberty he knew that the mirror reflected “a body that was not mine own ”.

Going out to his mother, he began to slowly taste the water: dressed like a man, changed his name. Only after years of talking to a team of doctors, he was recently able to get medication to stop menstruation. The next step he wants to start will be a small dose of testosterone.

“I waited seven years to finally become the person, the person I’ve always been,” Angus said.

He said bills to block such treatment are harmful, not protect trans-youth.

“The government says, ‘Oh, parents are abusing their children by allowing them to move,'” he said. What these bills are really doing is introducing trance to young people living in danger because suicide rates will rise exponentially. And many families will lose their children. “

Similar bans apply in other states.

In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the state-run Child Protection Agency to investigate allegations of child abuse. And Arkansas law prohibits sex-proof drugs. However, this law was blocked by the court.

Trans-youth in many red states say they feel attacked, angry, betrayed and intimidated by a wave of legislation aimed at them.

“It’s like a blow to the back,” Harley said. because it will help me win the election, ”it just hurts to see how they do it.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

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